TAMPA — Luis Severino’s setback means an opportunity for Jhony Brito.
Brito, a 25-year-old right-hander, will start for the Yankees Sunday against the Blue Jays at Steinbrenner Field in what could be an audition to enter the big league rotation while Severino is out with a strained lat.
“I think he’s done a nice job so far (this spring),” pitching coach Matt Blake said. “She throws a lot of strikes, attacks the zone, has some pitches (left handed) with a good changeup to get strikes. It’s a good opportunity for him.”
The Yankees added him to the 40-man roster this season after posting a 2.96 ERA in 112 ²/₃ innings last season between Double-A Somerset and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Randy Vasquez, Yoendrys Gomez and Deivi Garcia are also on the 40-man roster.
But he’s ahead of Brito Vasquez and Gomez, and the Yankees have built Garcia as a long reliever who can pitch 2-4 innings.
john britoCharles Wenzelberg/New York Post
Brito posted a 3.52 ERA over 7 ²/₃ innings this spring before being optioned to Triple-A on March 11.
But he’ll get an unexpected chance to make another impression with Severino expected to start the season on the disabled list.
“We knew at some point we were going to have to rely on some depth here,” Blake said. “You didn’t necessarily expect the first week (of the season), but that’s OK. I think he has a good head on his shoulders and will follow a plan well. So I think that gives us a chance to get out the door.”
Josh Donaldson hit his third home run in as many games, a 436-yard moonshot to Aaron Nola’s left field.
Boone called the mechanical adjustment he’s made to his swing “huge.”
“I’m excited for what he’s going to do,” Boone said.
“As we get ready to start the season, he’s right where he needs to be.”
Tommy Kahnle (biceps tendonitis), who received a cortisone shot on Tuesday that came with a 48-72-hour layoff, had yet to start throwing again Saturday.
He said he was waiting for the discomfort to clear up completely before starting the disposal program.
After the game, the Yankees assigned INF Wilmer Difo and C Rodolfo Duran to minor league camp.